Every month, TMINE lets you know what TV the BFI will be presenting at the South Bank in London
We’re back to that curious time of year in the BFI calendar known as ‘September-October’, which is when we get a big rundown on both September and to a lesser extent October’s schedule, the latter of which will get a top-up in a month or so once the BFI catches up with itself.
There are two strands to the programming in this bi-month. The first is a jazz season, featuring archives appearances on British TV of greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk.
The second, somewhat less surprisingly given the autumn TV season is nearly upon is, is previews of three upcoming UK TV programmes:
Peter Moffat’s The Last Post (with Jessica Raine and Ben Miles among others)
ITV’s suspiciously The Affair-like Liar (with that Ioan Gruffudd)
The Boy With The Topknot (featuring Marvel’s Iron Fist‘s Sacha Dhawan – yes, I will always be referring to him as that from now).
Q&As with cast and crew are scheduled for all three of those, so I’d book my tickets quickly, if I were you.
Kim’s Convenience is big in Canada, but nowhere else yet, so you might not have heard of its writer Ins Choi. You’ll probably have heard of Hawaii Five-0, though, although you may not have heard that stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are leaving the show, allegedly because they’re not being given the same salaries as their white co-stars (CBS, of course, denies it).
Anyway, during a performance of the original stage play at New York’s Signature Theatre Center this Saturday, former actor Choi dedicated a rap to Park and Kim about the problems that face Asian actors.
The West Wing is increasingly looking not just like wishful thinking but science-fiction – certainly, it was very much a product of its time and that time has now passed. But it inspired love among many of its viewers, including Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. A self-professed superfan, he’s created a rap tribute to the show for ‘The West Wing Weekly’ podcast. Why not give it a listen? Maybe on Thursday.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, The Monkees was one of those shows you couldn’t avoid if you lived in the UK during the 80s. Every time school holidays rolled around, along with The Red Hand Gangand The Flashing Blade, there was The Monkees on BBC1, every morning. This was despite having been made in the 1960s, mind you – I do wonder how the kids of today will ever get to watch classic TV without the likes of the Beeb and Channel 4 to force feed them it any more.
The Monkees was odd. One of the first US shows to feature teenagers as its leads, it starred an eponymous pop group of four youngsters, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, all with Beatles-esque haircuts – guess what network NBC was trying to cash in on? What was odd was:
It was a sitcom, set around the group’s often surreal, often fourth-wall breaking adventures, in which they all played versions of themselves
Davy Jones was British, which was a rare thing on US TV in those days
It had musical breaks during which the band sung their songs, although frequently the action would continue while the group played
The group had never met each other until the show, having been recruited by an NBC casting call, yet they still managed not only to gel, but to become a successful band in their own right.
In fact, so well did they gel, despite the tragic loss of Davy Jones, the remaining Monkees are still touring and writing music to this day, and the group created a number of classic 60s songs, including ‘I’m A Believer’, ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ and ‘Daydream Believer’. Not to forget the theme tune to the show itself.
The show lasted for an impressive two seasons, after which the group’s metaness reached a peak with the movie Head, written by the show’s creator Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces) and none other than Jack Nicholson. This was actually an odd, stream of conscious, series of scenes about the difficulties of being a public figure, interspersed with satire about war, drugs, and politics. That and getting stuck in a giant Victor Mature.
One of the classics of 60s sitcoms, The Monkees’ legacy endured for years. In the 70s, The Banana Splitswas largely The Monkees but featuring men wearing animal costumes, with just a hint of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. And arguably the 1980s’ The Young Ones‘ musical interludes owed a heavy debt to The Monkees‘.
You can watch most of the episodes of The Monkees on YouTube, but here’s the first, just for your enjoyment.
And for true fans, here are the screen tests for the cast:
I love Netflix’s Stranger Things, as loving a modern-day recreation of 80s movies and TV shows as you could ever hope to imagine. Even the title sequence is brilliantly 80s.
I love Tangerine Dream – after all they did write the themes for a whole bunch of great 80s movies, such as Legend and Risky Business, as well as one of the best ever TV themes, Street Hawk*.
So what could be better than Tangerine Dream – whose song ‘Exit’ actually features in Stranger Things – coming up with variations of Stranger Things‘ soundtrack, originally composed by a band called Survive (or S U R V I V E, if you prefer), who are big fans of Tangerine Dream? Nothing, that’s what.